Criminals are exploiting the county court system in England and Wales, using the law to force companies into paying false claims against them it is alleged.
The accusation comes from Robin Chater, secretary-general of the Federation of International Employers (FedEE Global), who has outlined a common way by which criminals are acting against companies operating in England and Wales.
“Criminals need no longer break into property or mug shopkeepers to obtain ready cash from business organisations,” said Chater. “The county court system will assist them to make their fraudulent claims.
“Under the present “small claims” system the courts allow cases of smaller monetary value (up to £10,000) to be heard without the necessity of legal representation. The problem is that many of the claims being made are spurious and by making it simple and cheap to institute a claim the court system is unwittingly aiding the fraud.”
Chater added that anyone can make a claim against a company for any sum up to the small claims limit. “To make it credible all they have to do is become a contractor for a short period. Unless their contract is very tightly written a false claim for any sum can be made very readily on the basis of self-certified hours.
”Criminals are becoming increasingly aware how such procedures can work in their favour. Three cases have come to the Federation’s attention – one even against a private detective agency. So rather than furthering the administration of justice the courts are bolstering the perpetration of fraud.”
“To overcome this problem mediation should be a compulsory first step rather than an option – as criminals will currently reject such voluntary resolution of their cases. It should also be a requirement that a pre-hearing document review be undertaken to ensure that there is a prima-facie case against the defendant. This paper examination of evidence could lead to false claims being rejected.”
The Federation represents established multinationals and smaller companies considering the employment of people in another country for the first time. It was founded in 1988 with assistance from the European Commission (EC).
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